Bakers' U.S. Classics - Book Review (Brief)

Discussion in 'United States Stamps' started by Molokai, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    Bakers' U.S. Classics by Hugh J. Baker and J. David Baker. Published by the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society, 1985. Oversized Hardback with Dust Jacket, 344pp. Current pricing: eBay - $28; Amazon - $24.00; ABE - $25.00.

    When philately was in its Golden Age prime there were many stamp magazines. Within the pages of these periodicals, one found wonderful regular columns penned by noted dealers and collectors. Pat Paragraphs and Sloane’s Column became books with the passing of their famous authors. Those have already been reviewed here on StampExchange.

    Comes now Bakers' U.S. Classics, a fine column which ran in a fine magazine, H.L. Lindquist’s Stamps Weekly. They were penned by the Baker brothers, Hugh J. and J. David and ran for seven years from 1962 to 1967 with only three absent weeks. The book has been arranged by topic, rather than chronologically:

    Famous Finds

    The Post Office

    The Postmasters General

    The Distribution System

    Dead Letter Office

    The Pre-Stamp Period

    The Stamp Eras

    The 1847 Issues

    The 1851-60 Issue

    Postal History, 1860-61

    The 1861 Issue

    The Black Jack of 1863

    The Grills of 1867

    The 1869 Issue

    The Foreign Mails

    Postal History Miscellany

    Confederate Postal History

    The columns themselves fall between the ‘tidbits’ of Sloane’s Column and the minor treatises of Pat Paragraphs. How these two fine philatelists were able to offer up such a trove of information every week for seven years is, to me, quite amazing.

    I honestly enjoyed every column but especially appreciated the first four topics of which I knew very little and of, course, the chapter on one of my favourite stamps, the Black Jack. Similar to the other column books mentioned that I appreciate – getting information in small bites. You can pick up the book at any time and just open it to a random page, start reading.

    An interesting note: The columns are short on punctuation and prepositions. Keep in mind, they originally wrote for columns scarcely two-inches wide. But every column is chock-full of information; the Baker Brothers really knew how to pack a lot into a little space! The book is also very lavishly illustrated with longer than average notes to many illustrations and handy sidebar summaries.

    This tome is most certainly a worthy (and affordable!) addition to any U.S. classics collector's library.

    Hugh J. Baker passed away in 1969 at which time the column was discontinued. J. David was mounted in the Big Stamp Album in the Sky in 1979.

    The images are the dust jacket cover and the original column in Stamps for 19 February 1966 – a week before my 16th birthday! :nailbiting:

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    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
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